Join HR ELE’s book club series on difficult conversations 

Aspiring LeadeReads is HR Employee Learning & Engagement’s professional development book club series, and we invite you to join us for our Spring 2024 read: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most.  

All Vanderbilt University employees are eligible to participate in Aspiring LeadeReads. 

About the book club series 

Tough conversations are all around us. We attempt or avoid difficult conversations every day—whether dealing with an underperforming employee, disagreeing with a spouse or negotiating with a client. From the Harvard Negotiation Project, the organization that brought you Getting to Yes, Difficult Conversations provides a step-by-step approach to having those tough conversations with less stress and more success.

In this four-part series, guided by the book, we will engage in deep discussions, activities and reflections around how to start difficult conversations, how to truly listen for what matters, how to stay grounded in tough moments and how to resolve issues rather than dancing around them.  

Interest form 

We anticipate that interest will exceed the number of seats available for this offering. To express your interest, we invite you to complete this interest form by Feb. 1. Participants can access a free electronic version of the book through the VU libraries or request a complimentary hard copy.  

The sessions will be hosted virtually on:  

  • Thursday, Feb. 15, 1–2 p.m. 
  • Thursday, Feb. 22, 1–2 p.m. 
  • Thursday, Feb. 29, 1–2 p.m. 
  • Thursday, March 7, 1–2 p.m. 

*Please note that this is a four-part series, with each discussion session lasting an hour.  

What you should know 

Aspiring LeadeReads is a Level 3: Collaborate and Create series, and you can expect to engage in activities, large group discussions, small group discussions in breakout rooms and reflections. We strive to create a learning environment where each participant feels comfortable, engaged and included.  

Participants who get the most out of our learning experiences are engaged during sessions and set aside time to read and sometimes re-read the book chapters before each discussion session.  

As a participant, you commit to: 

  • Reading the relevant chapters in Difficult Conversations before each session 
  • Showing up to each one-hour discussion session prepared to participate fully, share openly and listen attentively 
  • Participating in activities during each discussion session 
  • Holding confidentiality for discussion sessions 

Past Aspiring LeadeReads participants shared:  

“Aspiring LeadeReads gave me the opportunity to reflect on how I work with colleagues and some specific strategies on how to create more effective communication with my team moving forward. It also allowed me to see how others planned to implement strategies from the book.” 

“The ELE team is engaging and thoughtful in the way they crafted this program to give people time and space to process what they were reading, to think about how the topics in the book have showed up for people in their past, and to help us navigate how to use strategies successfully moving forward. Incredibly thankful for their time and expertise.” 

“Through the Aspiring LeadeReads series, Vanderbilt University has provided another thoughtful and much-needed offering to educate and empower staff and faculty to not only discuss difficult or challenging subjects and learn from peers, but to network and connect with colleagues across campus that we might not otherwise be afforded the time to know. How can I pick a “best part” of these experiences? They’re always impressive and worthwhile. Thank you!”  – Heidi Bates, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Ph.D. in Nursing Science Program Manager. 

About HR Employee Learning and Engagement  

The Employee Learning and Engagement team works to unlock the potential of every Vanderbilt employee by offering innovative and meaningful learning experiences, creating space to foster conversations and connections, and encouraging a culture of learning and growth. 

Our vision is for every employee to feel connected and integral to Vanderbilt’s mission, empowered to invest in themselves and succeed in their role, engaged in the campus community and inspired to design their best future. 

We invite you to visit our website to learn more and view our upcoming learning experiences.